|Paicture credit: nonthaburifc.com|
The reason I don't get to see Nonthaburi FC as often as my other two local teams isn't because I care less about them, but simply because I decided to prioritise teams in the order in which I discovered them: MTU, Raj and Eka, in that order.
So I'd missed a good few games before today's clash with Bangkok Christian College but I expected little to have changed. I was wrong.
The first change to be noticed was that merchandise was now on sale. I really like the style of both the home and away shirts so I bought one of each then entered the stadium. That was when change number two jumped out and smacked me on by big snoozer immediately.
Because Eka's home colour is black, it's common for the crowd to look like the audience at a Marilyn Manson concert for any game. However, today it had been taken one step further. The large crowd had a distinctly unorthodox look about it. To my right was a man - I repeat: a man - with large breasts. To his right was a another man who looked like a young version of Robert Smith from 'The Cure', complete with hair like Marge Simpson. In front of me was another male who, I would soon discover, would spend the entire game attempting to enter the 'Guinness Book of Records' for the loudest, most irritating and girly scream ever emitted by a male. It continued. The man three seats to my left was kitted out in full eye-liner and blusher. His male accomplice was wearing a blouse. There were at least thirty members of this group. Probably more. Yes, Nonthaburi have somehow established themselves as the club of choice for the androgynous community.
Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with anyone from any walk of life who supports the same team as me and is a decent person. The only annoyance was the aforementioned screamer who clearly had no knowledge or interest in football. My surprise was simply due to the change of personnel since my last visit to the Rama 9 Stadium and the humor at the thought of such crowd attending a game in England. What would the Brits make of it?
The usual Nonthaburi support was also in attendance though, in full voice to boot. Moreover, BCC bought the biggest away following - including four farang fans (why don't you drop by and introduce yourselves guys?) - that I've ever seen for a D2 game. All this combined with Nonthaburi FC's quickly established reputation for being completely free of airs and graces - fans will attend barefoot, smoke, drink beer from glass bottles and eat off the terrace floor - made for a fun atmosphere.
Oh yeh, we won one-nil in a scrappy game. Sarawut Thasong scored in the second half and left Eka to ride their luck big time but just hold out for the win. The D2 Bangkok race is wide open.
The new crowd seems fun providing the drunks - of which there are always a few at Eka games - don't decide to get silly at some point in future. I don't see it happening, as Eka fans are as friendly as any other despite their manner. Then again I didn't expect trouble last time it happened, either.
Meanwhile Rajpracha went down one-nil to Chantaburi. The 'Crowns' are due to face D1 leaders Air Force United next Sunday.